Pato signs with Sao Paulo after leaving Chinese side Tianjin Tianhai

Sao Paulo have signed former Brazil international striker Alexandre Pato until December of 2022, the club announced on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old, who spent two seasons on loan at Sao Paulo in 2014 and 2015, was a free agent after leaving Chinese Super League (CSL) side Tianjin Tianhai earlier this month.

He is the first signing under new manager Cuca, who was appointed in February.

An Internacional academy product, the former AC Milan man had spells at Corinthians, Chelsea and Villarreal before moving to China, where he'd spent the past two-plus seasons.

In China, Pato joined Tianjin Quanjian following the club's promotion to the top flight of Chinese football at the end of the 2016 season and his 15 goals in his debut campaign were vital to the club securing a top-three finish at the end of their first year.

That got Tianjin into the Asian Champions League for the first time in the club's history, where they reached the quarterfinals before losing to eventual winners Kashima Antlers from Japan.

Despite their run to the last eight in the continental championship, however, Tianjin's form faltered in the league in his second season and, having flirted with relegation, they finished the domestic campaign in ninth.

Worse was to follow in December when owner Shu Yuhui was arrested due to alleged irregularities within his Quanjian Group, forcing him to relinquish ownership of the club.

Without Shu's backing the club struggled and the Tianjin Football Association was forced to step in and take over, changing the name to Tianjin Tianhai and imposing significant budgetary restrictions.

As a result, speculation had been rife that Pato would leave the club and he did not feature in either of the team's opening games of the 2019 Chinese Super League season.

At the international level, Pato has scored 10 goals in 27 appearances for Brazil, but hasn't made an appearance since 2013.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.